40s 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s  

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The 1940s was a great decade for film. Alfred Hitchcock was really coming into his own as the master of suspense and Frank Capra gave movie-goers a holiday film that would be loved even decades after its initial release. The actresses of the 1940s were often great beauties with endless talents that were able to thrive in the captivating roles of the day.

Who was the most popular actress of the 1940s? Gene Tierney tops our list. She made her feature film debut in 1940 and quickly became one of the era's greatest actresses. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1945 film Leave Her to Heaven. Ingrid Bergman starred in one of the most popular films of the 1940s and beyond when she appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca in 1942. Later, she appeared in Hitchcock's movies Notorious and Spellbound.

Ava Gardner stole hearts in the 1946 film The Killers, which propelled her into super-stardom. She was under contract with MGM from 1941-1958. Greer Garson was by far one of the most popular actresses of the 1940s. During that decade she was nominated for an Oscar a record-setting five years in a row. She took home a statue for her performance in the 1942 film Mrs. Miniver.

Which 1940s actress is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Gene Tierney made her feature film debut in 1940 and quickly became one of the era's greatest actresses. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1945 film Leave Her to Heaven.

Gene Eliza Tierney was an American film and stage actress. Acclaimed as a great beauty, she became established as a leading lady. Tierney was best known for her portrayal of the title character in the film Laura, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Ellen Berent Harland in Leave Her to Heaven. Tierney's notable roles include Martha Strable Van Cleve in Heaven Can Wait, Isabel Bradley Maturin in The Razor's Edge, Lucy Muir in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Ann Sutton in Whirlpool, Maggie Carleton McNulty in The Mating Season and Anne Scott in The Left Hand of God. ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): Laura, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Night and the City, Leave Her to Heaven, The Razor's Edge, + more

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

Age: Died at 71 (1920-1991)

Also Ranked

#40 on The Greatest American Actresses of All Time

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Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Though she really came into her own in the 1950s and 1960s, Natalie Wood made her feature film debut as a child in the 1940s. Who could resist her sweet innocence as Susan Walker in the classic holiday film Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

Natalie Wood was an American film and television actress best known for her screen roles in Miracle on 34th Street, Splendor in the Grass, Rebel Without a Cause, and West Side Story. After first working in films as a child, Wood became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she was 25 years old. Wood began acting in movies at the age of four and at age eight was given a co-starring role in the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street. As a teenager, her performance in Rebel Without a Cause earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in the musical films West Side Story and Gypsy, and ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause, Miracle on 34th Street, Splendor in the Grass, + more

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Age: Died at 43 (1938-1981)

Also Ranked

#43 on The Most Beautiful Women of All Time

#40 on The Best Actresses in Film History

#99 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#15 on The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

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Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Known for her husky voice and lovely locks, Lauren Bacall's 70 year acting career started in the 1940s. She appeared in several memorable films including The Big Sleep in 1946 and Key Largo in 1948. She appeared in four movies with her husband Humphrey Bogart.

Lauren Bacall was an American actress known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks. She was named the 20th greatest actress of the 20th century by the American Film Institute and received an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures." Bacall began her career as a model, before making her debut as a leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have and Have Not. She continued in the film noir genre with appearances in Bogart's The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, and Key Largo, and starred in the romantic comedies How to Marry a Millionaire with Marilyn Monroe and Designing Woman with ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): Misery, The Big Sleep, Murder on the Orient Express, The Shootist, To Have and Have Not, + more

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: Died at 90 (1924-2014)

Also Ranked

#30 on The Best Actresses in Film History

#96 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#8 on The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

#18 on The Greatest American Actresses of All Time

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Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Elizabeth Taylor started her career as a child star at MGM in the 1940s. During that time she appeared in such films as The White Cliffs of Dover and Little Women.

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-born American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. As one of the world's most famous film stars, Taylor was recognized for her acting ability and for her glamorous lifestyle, beauty, and distinctive dark blue eyes, which famously appeared to be violet. National Velvet was Taylor's first success, and she starred in Father of the Bride, A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for BUtterfield 8, played the title role in Cleopatra, and married her co-star Richard Burton. ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Flintstones, Giant, + more

Birthplace: Hampstead Garden Suburb, United Kingdom

Age: Died at 79 (1932-2011)

Also Ranked

#18 on The Most Beautiful Women of All Time

#11 on The Best Actresses in Film History

#56 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#11 on The Greatest American Actresses of All Time

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